Supervisor Spotlight: Trudy Georgio

Trudy Georgio earned her master’s degree in education with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction; applied behavior analysis at Arizona State University and is pursuing her PhD in Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University. She currently works as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M University, teaching undergraduate classes and conducting research. Trudy is lead instructor and content designer for the ABA Study Guide and provides private consultation for families of children with autism spectrum disorder. 

She recently joined the BAM team as our newest supervisor and we asked her about her experience in the field of behavior analysis:

How did you first learn about the field of applied behavior analysis?

Initially, my plan was to be a middle school art teacher. After graduating with a B.F.A. in Art Education as a certified educator in South Carolina, I started working as a substitute teacher in middle school special education classrooms. I was fascinated by the students with ASD and was concerned that there was not much measurable, meaningful learning in the classroom. I searched for resources on strategies to best provide more effective, evidence-based teaching strategies to support these students, and I stumbled upon the ABA literature. Coincidently I was presented with a position for a behavior technician by a former colleague, and I entered the field of ABA in 2010!

Why did you want to pursue a master’s in behavior analysis?

I had excellent mentors while working as a line therapist. After about six months of providing direct services, my mentors encouraged me to take the BACB- verified course sequence so I could advance my career. I chose to enroll at the University of South Carolina in order to further my education in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis. During my supervision experience, I was provided ample opportunities to program and develop intervention plans, which allowed me to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom. I passed the BCaBA in 2014 and continued my education at Arizona State University, earning my master’s and sitting for the BCBA credential in 2018. I believe that it is my extensive experience in all tiers of service delivery that have shaped my knowledge of practical and effective applied behavior analysis. 

Tell us about what you are doing now?

I am a first-year educational psychology doctoral student at Texas A&M. My current research agenda is the use of telehealth for remote training of behavior analytic practices. I also serve as a graduate assistant, teaching undergraduate special education classes. 

In addition, I am lead-instructor and content designer for the ABA Study Guide. I teach live synchronous ABA content classes, and provide remote BCBA and RBT tutoring and support services. 

My experiences lead me to identify “gaps” in learning that are produced by the rapid growth of our field, particularly through online programs and distance supervision. Similar to my experience in the special education classes, I was concerned by how many potential graduates were being produced without applied knowledge or the ability to derive procedures outside of explicit training conditions. It has become my mission to ensure that university students and board exam studiers not only pass the exam, but also learn the content past fluency and on to generalization and maintenance of concepts and principles.

I have just begun working as a supervisor with the Behavior Analyst Mentorship Network, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to provide quality mentorship through this reputable organization, as I believe their values align with mine.

Which aspect of your supervision best prepared you for practice?

As I mentioned, the BCBAs whom I learned under were not only supervisors signing forms, but were mentors. My mentors allowed me to have hands-on practice with everything from assessments to verbal behavior programs and behavior intervention plans on both the molar and molecular levels. I’ve found that the rapid growth in our field has added pressure to supervisors to produce BCBAs to meet needs, rather than provide a systematic methodical approach such as the one found in a true mentor-mentee relationship. 

What do you love most about the work you do?

I love the moments with students when the concepts and principles just click. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work and dedication to truly understand the science of behavior and be able to effect lasting, meaningful change. Only when you can derive relations in novel situations can you demonstrate true mastery. I am also motivated by teachable moments with clients that evoke novel, untrained behaviors—that experience when they generalize or learn vicariously. I guess I like getting things “for free!”. 

If you could give students  of behavior analysis one piece of advice, what would it be?

Can I give two? 

  1. Take your time. Developing your skill set takes time. Post BCBA credential, never stop learning. The most dangerous words are “this is how I/ we/ they have always done it”. 
  2. Be careful on social media; the way you speak and present yourself should represent the pride that you have in applied behavior analysis. Respected professionals use dignified language and respect not only our future, but also our past.

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